E-Learning is learning utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom (Elearningnc.gov, 2019). South Africa’s public education system is going through massive transformation, moving away from limited educational opportunities based on race and poverty levels to social and educational inclusiveness.
Most of e-learning systems are oriented to support higher academic levels of education. However, soon after the universities, many high schools also have implemented e-learning systems as an additional option to the traditional educational process(Nikolova et al 2008).
The idea of e-learning is to empower learners to absorb personal accomplishment, basic schooling or to obtain a certificate, without actually attending the school or any other academic institute(Edsys, 2019). The major advantage of e-learning lies in its flexibility and ability to cover distances(Van Thinh, 2016).
From a secondary school’s perspective, E-learning frees up school resources, enabling teachers and teacher aides to focus on students who need even more help and can be used to deliver extension courses for bright, motivated students to further accelerate their learning(The Yale Tribune, 2019). According to Temitope (2015), e-Learning alleviates educators’ workload; it allows more interactions between educators and learners; and it makes teaching and learning resources more available.
According to Arkorful and Abaidoo (2014), The disadvantages of e-learning include:
Deterioration of institutions’ socialization role and also the role of instructors as the directors of the process of education.
Since tests for assessments in e-learning are possibly done with the use of proxy, it will be difficult, if not impossible to control or regulate bad activities like cheating.
When it comes to improvement in communication skills of learners, e-learning as a method might have a negative effect. The learners. Though might have an excellent knowledge in academics, they may not possess the needed skills to deliver their acquired knowledge to others.
To curb the problem of students taking notes or cramming when a teacher delivers a lesson in class, the Gauteng Education MEC launched a digital e-learning platform at a Soshanguve East Secondary School on the 16th of October (Mahlase, 2019). While it has many benefits, the e-learning approach also faces many challenges. As is well known, a significant segment of the population still does not have access to the Internet or lacks the required IT skills(Shraima and Khlaifb, 2010). This places into question the e-readiness of south african schools to allow for the widespread adoption of E-Learning technologies.
The World Bank (2002) categorizes e-readiness criteria into four components: Connectivity (the quality and extent of Internet infrastructure), Capability (a country’s ability to deliver and consume e-Learning), Content (the quality and pervasiveness of online learning materials) and Human capacity Policy and Cultural environment whereby the legal and regulatory environment affecting the ICT sector is considered, and finally the size of the ICT sector.
South Africa currently ranks 46th and 75th globally on a variety of metrics termed ‘readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’(Janse van Rensburg, 2019). We can therefore deduce that there is an immense load of research and implementation work that needs to be carried out across the country. The sole purpose of said research and relative work is to bring the country to a more formidable ranking within the readiness scale, in order to provide adequate value and support to our high school students. Since most of the research on the topic of E-Learning is targeted at Higher education, this study aims to contribute to enhancing our understanding within the high school domain.